Once Upon a Honeymoon
Ken Smith sez: A must-see. Broadway choreographer Gower Champion directed this stylized musical fantasy, in glorious fifties Technicolor, to push the Bell System's new color-coordinated telephones. A weird plot, strange characters, surreal imagery and lots of singing and dancing make for an extremely entertaining film.
Planning on the film began about a year ago, when new merchandising efforts to promote the new color handsets, speakerphones, kitchen phones and other products were just getting underway. The companies wanted to show the new products in a film, but subtly, noncommercially, and with sponsor identification kept to a very minimum.
Includes dancing through the kitchen, living room, and bedroom as the home magically modernizes before our very eyes.
Once upon a time, or maybe it should be twice upon a time, because this story begins where most stories end, there was a bit of excitement up on cloud seven. On this particular morning the head angel had called a conference to talk about Jeff and Mary and their guardian angel, Wilbur, was late! [heaven angels sets set design doors opening meetings deities gods]
Where is Wilbur? I have sent every cherub in the place out to look for him! Hiya fellas, let's get this show on the road. It's already on the road. I'm sorry, chief. We've got so many new clients, we'll have to open a new branch office.
These clients are your immediate concern. If you want to keep your license. Oh, yes sir, yes sir, yes sir, chief. Marriages are made in heaven, but there is followup work too. Jeff and Mary have been married for a year and they haven't had a real honeymoon yet. But everything's under control. They are starting on their honeymoon today.
That's what they think, too. But they are going to find out differently unless you get down there right away and take care of things! Something's come up? Something is coming up in exactly thirty seconds. Now get going. Yes sir, chief! Geronimo! [jumping diving falling]
Wilbur, Oh Wilbur. . . Yes Chief? Wilbur, make yourself invisible. Oh, I almost forgot. . . I'm sorry chief, but I've got to get organized. Besides, no one can see me up here. Yes sir, right chief. [falling cellular telephones phones mobile communications radio futurism shouting calling dialing conversations invisibility telephone antennas angels supernatural robes]
You got everything? Everything, including you. Well, let's go then. . . Hello. . . Jeff, this is Gordon. Well, hello Gordon and goodbye Gordon. Mary and I are just leaving. [angels angel dust transparency houses roofs ceilings couples magic living room suitcases kisses kissing telephones ringing]
Now wait a minute, something has come up. It can't come up. When I finished the score for the show you said that I could take Mary on our honeymoon. We've waited a year now and we're going. Now hold on, Jeff. It's Sonia. Her wishing number. The words are okay but she doesn't care much about the music. If we don't have a new tune by tomorrow morning she's not going to sign for the show. [offices arguments work meetings bosses coercion]
Look Gordon, rehearsals don't start for four weeks yet, and we're on our honeymoon. Now listen Jeff, if you don't come up with that new music, there won't be any show and there won't be any honeymoon. Now you can write a new melody in twenty four hours. There's no problem at all. You must have at least a dozen old tunes lying around. [coercion]
The wishing song? No problem at all. [disappointment depression cigarettes smoking ashtrays butts time-lapse]
No inspiration, darling? I couldn't write "The Farmer in the Dell" today. That temperamental ballerina. I'd like to. . . Take it easy. Look, it's way past dinner time and you haven't eaten lunch yet. I'm not hungry. I'll fix some coffee. [trays]
Yes? Hello, Mary? Yes Sonia. You tell Jeffrey, the dear boy, that I love his words, but I want more wishing in the wishing song. You are absolutely right. He couldn't agree with you more. He's working on it right now. It's almost finished. Goodbye. . . [piano playing telephones conversations divas singers cheeriness lying lies reaction shots anger hangups]
I wish I had a castle in the sky. Oh, way up high where bluebirds like to fly. A cozy little castle with a hundred rooms or more. Oh dear, someday, with stars for windows, clouds for rugs, a rainbow for a door. I wish. I just wish I had a decent kitchen. [kitchens laments wishes needs consumerism appliances singing solos Virginia Gibson refrigerators antiques twirls running water faucets dripping drips dancing stoves pilot lights matches wishes]
I wish. I wish the faucet wouldn't drip all day. I wish that refrigerator door would close and stay closed. I wish I had a stove whose pilot light was always lit. [angels angel dust magic futurism supernatural modernization futuristic Populuxe kitchens desire surrealism]
Furthermore, a kitchen phone at hand when friends call up to chat a bit. Hello, yes this is Mary. How are you, Vi? They say your kitchen dazzles every eye. A brand new sink, a built-in oven, a new refrigerator and a phone, a kitchen phone, a bright red phone. I've got to go. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. I'll call you later. [telephones wall phones ringing hangups hanging up conversations]
I wish my living room were all redone. New drapes, new rugs, oh this is fun. It's nice to have a telephone to blend with my new drapes and rug. A living room that's all our own. [entrances exits transitions dancing transformations surrealism twirls evening dresses magic tuxedos formalwear interior design desire consumerism skirts telephones fetishism pianos couples ecstasy]
The bedroom should be changed completely too. Perhaps a color scheme of gold and blue. New furniture and lots of room for all my clothes. On second thought I might try dusty rose. [interior design interior decoration bedrooms seduction women transformations surrealism]
A lady likes to have a chance to change her mind. I might like a yellow room with turquoise and white and maybe a telephone that lights up at night. I wish, I may, I wish, I might. [desire wishes red yellow telephones]
Hello, hello, they hung up. It was probably Gordon sitting there like a vulture. Call him back. Maybe I'll have it in a day or two but not tonight. I haven't got one idea left to rub against another. His line's busy. Well, try it again. If he and Sonia can't wait I don't care what they do. [telephones ringing]
Why don't we call him later. No, now. All right. Wait a minute, do that again. Yeah, yeah, why not? Yeah. Again, do it again. It works. Good. A waltz. [angels magic angel dust telephones blowing dialing reaction shots rhythm busy signals themes insight creativity fingers]
Hello, oh, hello Gordon. I've been trying to get Jeff. Sonia is here. How is it coming? Wonderful, do you want to hear something? You bet. I'll turn on the speakerphone. I want Sonia to hear it. Fine, listen to this.
I wish I had a castle in the sky. Oh, way up where the blue birds fly. A castle with a sky full of bright, shining stars for windows, clouds for rugs, a rainbow for a door. I wish I had a castle in the sky where we could watch the world go by with silver from the moonlight and gold from the sun in our own, just our own, wishing castle in the sky. [singing songs duets love dancing player pianos invisibility glasses]
I love it, such rhythm, such spirit, such vivace! That's it, kids, bring it in, Jeff, and go on your honeymoon. [dancing acrobatics tricks suitcases love happy endings]
Chief? This is Wilbur. Mission accomplished. I'll be right up. Right. [The End. A Jerry Fairbanks Production. The Bell System]
Subject: Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Subject: Unconsummated Marriage After One Year
1956 was the year all the housewives in my neighborhood just had to have a wall phone in the kitchen. [ Today its a $2200 stainless steel french door fridge.] My crafty mom shot some leg at the guy from the phone company and presto we got an extension phone upstairs too - for free. I was there. I saw it all happen.
That instant blast of musical genius after snorting some white powder was a good 20 years early for the mainstream.
Subject: this is so prescient
@magaphoto: I just noticed your review. I like your review. I am with you. sad there were few reviews which dug through the layers of bull shit like yours does.
Subject: RIP Virginia Gibson 1925 - 2013
Subject: Case study on self-delusion meets the end of the world:
When our society went from "buying to replace" to "buy to be happy", the effect snowballed over the decades with the force needed to keep from experiencing a real existential crisis.
Subject: Did I See - What You Saw
I must be dumb because I did not see: an unhappy subdued or repressed wife, a sex maniac, all phones on 1 line, post war consumerism?, or a lot of other things that reviewers mentioned.
Again,I must be dumb, because what I did see: a great commercial, with beautiful colors, that made me feel warm, fuzzy and happy all over; a nice size home, which fits with their type of job; a couple with no children trying to get away; great decorating ideas; really cool retro appliances and furniture; a color phone in every room, no splitters were visible, I checked 3 times; and oh! did I mention the colors in the commercial were the cats meow?
For Pete's sake, it's a commercial and I cannot believe how long my review is for a nice, happy and fun commercial???
There seems to be a need for a 'CHILL PILL'. It's just a commercial......
please forgive any sp/gr errors
Subject: A must see
Subject: And Your Narrator Is...
Subject: Another Unhappy Housefrau....Until....
Subject: They Put the Kitsch in Kitchen
Apart from a heaven that looked like some celestial boardroom, the movie is set in a 'typical' newlywed couple's house. In other words, a dingy fixer-upper in need of remodeling--that's still bigger and better looking than anything the Cleavers or Nelsons ever owned. And, of course, the hubby is a typical run-of-the-mill composer of show tunes, a character I'm sure 99% of the guys out there can sympathize with.
The hubby shows his artsy, bohemian nature by chain smoking cigarettes of the non-wacky variety. The wifey shows her repressed sexuality by singing to her refrigerator. And, of course, the master bedroom has twin his-n-her beds, which always gives movies of this era a strange parallel-universe look. (Either that, or this was one seriously hung dude.)
In classic MGM musical style, all it takes to remodel your house--as well as compose a hit tune--is to sing some poorly-dubbed tune about different telephone colors and dance around the place. Why, it's magic!
Subject: Enjoyable Infomercial
Subject: Darling, I Like It
Very nice colour footage of decor designs of the time, very good vocal performances, but still weird enough for campy pleasure. What more could you want?
Subject: I have a question
Subject: An Absolute Charmer
Subject: I just saw part of this on TV
Subject: Warm Fuzzies
Subject: Wishing for a Better Marriage
SoniaÃÂs not MaryÃÂs only problem. An angel called Wilbur is on their roof sprinkling fairy dust on them. Are there deeper problems in this marriage? And Jeff chain smokes like crazy. Fortunately, heÃÂs inspired by the sound of the telephone dial to write the song and can finally take Mary on their honeymoon. But this isnÃÂt a marriage made in heaven. Her dream sequence shows us that Mary is as talented a singer and dancer as Sonia. Maybe she should go back to work and give Sonia a run for the money. Married to a problematic man whoÃÂs a heavy smoker, Mary may have no choice but to pick up one of her colorful phones and contact the outside world.
Subject: Fun flick...
Of course, you might say that this film is a gross exhibit of post-war consumerism, but I honestly don't see the point in taking it so seriously. Relax! Enjoy it!
Subject: everysong a castle
Subject: Great White Hornrims
Subject: Re: Once Upon a MSTie
MST's take on this short is available, BTW, on "Shorts, Volume 3", which is now out-of-print on VHS and is only available as a 3rd bonus DVD when ordering "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Essentials" through a special offer described on http://mst3000dvd.com/. I have no connection with any of the companies involved; just wanted to pass along this somewhat obscure info.
"Once Upon A Honeymoon"
Tom: How many times Lisa Marie and Michael Jackson had sex!
basically this movie shows a german hacker's dream of the 80s, having _several_ phones in your house in different colours. Having speakerphones and all. Back in the 80s you could have theoretically gone to jail for connecting 2 telephones to your line.
Subject: Once Upon a MSTie
No matter whether the "real" version or the MSTied one, this short is a must-have, must-see!
(Perhaps as a payback for all the times Best Brains got shorts from here, they could allow the Prelinger Archives to have a copy of their version... worth asking?)
Subject: Gotta go, goodbye, GOODBYE GOODBYE!
Jeff and Mary are about to go on their honeymoon when Gordon, his boss calls. It seems that Jeff is a broadway composer, and the head singer won't sign for the show unless "The Wishing Song" is rewritten! Soon Jeff is stranded at home, butting out his upteenth cigarette. His wife goes into the kitchen, and basically, the movie takes a total left turn (the movie is 15 times loopy already) and Mary brings down the house (literally) with her rendition of "The Wishing Song". After countless viewings of this film, I know this song inside and out, and it's one of the most amazing song and dance routines ever captured on film. Sample lines:
"I wish my living room was all redone,
new drapes, new rug oh this is fun!"
Oh yeah, the whole thing wraps up nicely. Won't spoil THAT for you, but all I can say is who KNEW? Screwier then any other film you've seen, this is a MUUUUUST see on this site!
Subject: Warning: Songs will burn themselves into your brain.
"Chief Angel" Russell Hicks had been in almost 300 films since 1915, and had a memorable role in W.C. Fields' "The Bank Dick". This is his last film appearance. Also watch for well-known character actor Alan Mowbray in a small role.
Subject: Dandy Camp
Subject: Once Upon a Honeymoon
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: *****. Also available on Mystery Science Theater 3000, Episode #701: Night of the Blood Beast and Our Secret Century, Vol. 1: The Rainbow Is Yours.